a question about introductions

One thing I’m noticing, when I go out to deaf gatherings, when I’m asked where I went to school, is that I’m having trouble conveying that I went to a plain school, no deaf or oral program at all. How would I best explain this? I sign school, mainstream, all children hearing, I only deaf child, and then they always ask for the name of the school and then they’re puzzled because they never recognize it. Of course not…it’s just one of a thousand similar schools in this state, let alone country.

I get the feeling they think it was a school that had a specific program of some sort for deaf children and so that they should know of it. But I had an itinerant tutor from JTC that came by for the speech therapy stuff back when I still put up with it. How do you sign itinerant tutor? Actually now that I think of it, maybe I should mention JTC — I hadn’t even thought of that till now. (John Tracy Clinic in LA.) Ha, maybe I just answered my own question…

Also, it seems like they ask more about the high school than the college, although the questions will come around to the college eventually which they’ll recognize since it’s the local university :-). But anyway how to best explain this? I get the feeling I’m not clear about it. I’m also wishing I went to a high school with A MUCH SHORTER NAME…fingerspelling it is killing me 🙂

Thanks for any help or observations…

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9 Responses to a question about introductions

  1. Mishka Zena says:

    I just say I went to a hearing school as 100% oral, with no special services. That does the trick for me.

  2. Mishka Zena says:

    Hmm, it didn’t go through. I’ll try again.

    BEG, I’ve always said that I went to a hearing school as an exclusviely oral student, with no special services provided at all, like if I am a hearing kid. With that answer, they didn’t ask me for the name of the school

  3. Dianrez says:

    Establishing your credentials in the deaf community usually begins by naming a school for the deaf or a college with a deaf program. However, now mainstream Deaf are becoming more common…just say “hearing school mainstream” and then say how you became involved with the Deaf community–like “age 19 joined Deaf club (name) and member ever since” It helps if you can say you were a “solitaire” (as Gina Olivia calls it) if you were the only Deaf at your high school. The school name is usaully not necessary unless the acquaintance also was mainstreamed and is curious to compare notes. Usually one doesn’t mention programs like JTC since they are individual and not school programs.

  4. lea says:

    i would recommend that you sign solitary mainstream by signing the sign for “mainstream” but with one of your hands signing “one” while the another is signing “five”. does this make sense? maybe you should read gina oliva’s book “alone in the mainstream” to gain better understanding. many deaf people had the same background of yours.

  5. Kevin says:

    I noticed that tread in the Deaf community too. Every time I mentioned my home state, Connecticut and they’d automatically assume I attended ASD. The would go on and on about that school.

  6. brock says:

    I don’t generally get people asking about what public school I went to unless they were local or familiar with the town. I think the most interest might have been if I was alone or had interpreters. I use either the mainstream sign or public sign to indicate the school, but since I also attended a deaf school, maybe there was much less interest in the public school. I don’t have any real suggestions other than sign public/hearing school.

  7. Wolfers says:

    I too came from mainstreamed schools from elementary to high school (and colleges.) It’s easier to introduce oneself in the same state since folks would know the mainstreamed schools as well as the school for the deaf here (back in 70’s and 80’s). Now if introductions are to be made in OTHER states than where one grows up, of course, it gets complicated, in my opinion! I tend to go “Jules… Army brat. Leave it at that.”


  8. MishkaZena: sorry — comments for the first time post get held up for moderation. Subsequent posts should come through w/o moderation. I’m just using default settings for now.

    Dianerez: Oh, I understand why I’m being asked, and I have no problem with it. It’s just that it seems to cause confusion when I try to describe it, so I wanted to see how I could address this question in the future for better clarity 🙂

    Lea: I like this idea of the 5+1 sign. So, as the two hands come together, that would usually both be in the 5 (or B) shape, the top one is in the #1 shape instead, while keeping the movement the same? And yes, I’ve read Alone in the Mainstream, which I consider a fabulous book!

    Generally: the impression I get is that “mainstreamed” doesn’t always seem to mean (as I thought it did) solitary integration…I guess that’s the point of confusion, some “hearing” schools have large programs with many deaf students involved in the mainstreaming, so they become relatively well known as well? Interesting.

    Also: I saw drmzz a bit back making a sign for “solitaire” — in this post. Is that the one? Index finger draws sort of a U? I wonder if people would understand that sign, if they had not read Alone in the Mainstream, or read DeafRead?

    Thanks for all the feedback!

  9. I_C_Voices says:

    The most simple, culturally appropriate response is “Hearing School”… That conveys the intended meaning to most people, and you don’t need to go into detail about “mainstreaming” or being alone — Everyone who asks the question already knows what mainstreaming means for Deaf kids — even if its a LARGE mainstreamed program…

    “Hearing School”… That’s all